Saturday, March 14, 2009

Planning and Zoning elects a secretary and discusses bylaws

The Planning and Zoning Commission only scheduled one public hearing* for their meeting last Wednesday night, so that they could spend time discussing their bylaws and other commission affairs.  Commissioners again failed to elect a Chair, with neither Barbara Plum nor Deborah Kleckowski garnering the necessary 5 votes on the 7-member Commission. However, in a minor breakthrough, they did elect James Fortuna for another term as secretary.

Two commissioners suggested changes to the existing P&Z bylaws.  Kleckowski's suggestion that the bylaws stipulate that all meetings must end by 11PM, unless specifically voted otherwise, was  favorably received by other commissioners.  Catherine Johnson suggested that site visits be mandated, that Robert's Rules of Order be followed, that there be an annual calendar for elections and bylaws discussion, and that no one could be an officer on the Commission if they miss more than 20% of the Commission meetings.  Commissioner Pelletier objected to the last suggestion, saying that the place to bar someone from being an officer was during the election of officers.  Johnson also suggested holding annual joint meetings with other commissions, including Public Works, Zoning Board of Appeals, Redevelopment, and Design Review and Preservation.  

The suggested changes to the bylaws will be voted on at a future P&Z meeting. 

*The public hearing was about an oil pipeline to run from the Arrigoni Bridge to the Kleen Energy facility on River Road. As
reported by Sloan Brewster in The Middletown Press (I was not present for this), many residents spoke against the pipeline during the public hearing. The commissioners voted 5-1, with one abstention, to approve the pipeline as presented.


Anonymous said...

finally a secretary - when will we get a chairman

Unknown said...

Most speakers were not against the oil pipeline per se but against various particulars of the pipeline route and were concerned about the disruptions that will accompany its installation.
Briefly, the City believes that the 150K annual property tax revenue from Buckeye Pipeline, and the compensation for easements, 45K, two demolitions and a basketball court, is reasonable.
Not everyone agrees that allowing a private entity to purchase easements through public Open Space is a good idea. Others disagree that the price of the purchased easements is reasonable and fair compensation for the right to use all our streets and our Open Space, even if the private entity, Buckeye Partners, produces significant tax revenue. There is additional incentive for the City to charge the Buckeye Partners only a modest fee and to assist in securing the most economical route for the oil pipeline: Kleen Energy, Buckeye's customer for a possible 22.9 million gallons of fuel annually, and contract partner in the pipeline development, is also an important revenue producer for the City.
I may be unaware of other influences, but to date this is my understanding of the issue.